Family of SUV Driver Killed in Metro-North Crash to File Suit

The family of Ellen Brody, the New York woman who died when her SUV got trapped in a railroad crossing and was hit by an oncoming Metro-North train, sparking an explosion that also killed five train passengers, says they're suing the railroad and the MTA for her death.

Lawyers for the family filed a notice of claim Monday, initiating the process for filing a wrongful death law suit.

"This horrific accident was not the fault of Ellen Brody," lawyer Philip Russotti said. "All of these deaths could have been avoided if this hazardous, redundant and unnecessary crossing had been closed or if the entities had followed federal guidelines establishing standards for safe signage and lights."

The Feb. 3 crash in the Westchester County community of Valhalla sparked an explosion and fire that burned out the first car of the train and sent pieces of the third rail stabbing through the passenger area.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Brody's SUV was stuck inside the railroad crossing gates moments before the train hit, but instead of backing up, she drove forward onto the tracks.

"I know who my mom was," Brody's daughter Alexa Brody said in an interview with NBC last March. "I know that she would never, never intentionally hurt people."

The crossing where the crash occurred in the Westchester County community of Valhalla has no barrier between the street and the tracks, and such crossings present safety issues, MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast has said in the past.

On Monday, the MTA said they could not confirm receipt of a notice of claim.

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